Have you ever tried to access an article but were only able to see a preview before it prompted you to provide your email address to see the rest? Or, have you read a guide on how to do something yourself and noticed an option to fill out a contact form to receive premium advice? If you’ve encountered either, and the chances are that you have seen some similar form requesting action in exchange for content, then you know exactly what content gating is.
Content Gating 101
As a business in contemporary society, there is a lot of controversy and indecision as to whether or not content gating is the right way to go. With arising privacy concerns and a lot of competition available through search engines, it may seem like a tactic you should avoid out of fear of being intrusive or repelling consumers.
But content gating is a tried and true B2B marketing strategy that does result in leads.
The Prominence of Gating
Its prominence speaks for itself. Over 80% of B2B is gated, as a matter of fact. And one case study purports that a content locking script reeled in almost 11,000 new subscribers in the span of a single month. Another business experienced a whopping 3806% increase in conversions via gating.
Whether you’re convinced or still skeptical, we’ll leave it up to you to decide. But by the end of this, you’ll know all there is to know about content gating and will be perfectly capable of implementing it should you choose.
Why It’s Important to Gate Your Content
You know what content gating is, but do you know why it’s so popular among marketers? The most obvious and simple answer is that it guarantees leads for your sales funnel. If executed properly, there are definitive gains to be made from content gating.
First and foremost, you are looking for a tactic that will help your business succeed. Through its sheer presence alone, content gates can bolster its perceived value. Subscription gates can have a psychological effect on users of implying that the report or data is more valuable, reliable, and useful since its access isn’t readily available to anyone.
Moreover, an undeniable fact is that, without content gating, it is nearly impossible or much more challenging to convert visits to open access content into leads. By having information on the visitors frequenting your website, you can more easily track your tactics and their performance.
By gaining insight into who is interacting with the gated content, you can streamline sales outreach. You’re able to more easily and more effectively identify and then land higher-quality leads. There’s an operating assumption that those willing to provide their personal information in exchange for yours are more likely to be interested in the other goods or services you offer.
With a clearer understanding of who your most profitable users are, you can focus on building a relationship with them. Not only can this help you restrategize to operate more efficiently and increase your success rate, but it can push you to continue to provide excellent-quality content. Because not everything is worthy of being gated. Consumers will only be willing to release their personal details if they feel they’re going to receive valuable material in return.
As you establish a trusting relationship with your clients, they can rely on you for consistent information. You, in turn, benefit again by becoming a trusted figure in your designated market.
What Type of Content Should be Gated
So, while almost any piece of content can be gated, it doesn’t mean that everything should be gated. Then, you may wonder, what exactly should be? While it depends on the topic, generally, content gated information should be comprehensive and valuable rather than simple and generic. This means that content gating is more effective as prospects make their way further down the marketing funnel. There’s a higher probability that their interest has been piqued and that, resultantly, they’d fill out a form to access more.
Mapping Your Marketing Funnel
Mapping out your marketing funnel is instrumental in determining what you should gate—a marketing funnel being the optimal experience a user will have, from first discovering your business to their final transaction with you. A well-thought-out and researched marketing funnel will, overall, help you improve and expand your business.
Using your marketing funnel in this context will ensure that your content gates won’t become too bothersome. To achieve this, a standard blueprint used by marketers is to gates at three different phases in the marketing funnel.
At the Top: Awareness Stage
At the start of the marketing funnel, the prospective consumer is aware of their issue but doesn’t know much about it or your business.
Some examples of content that should be gated at this stage include:
- Press Releases
Some examples of content that usually should not be gated at this stage include:
- Blog posts
In the Middle: Consideration Stage
Here, your brand becomes more familiar and credible. The consumer begins to seek a solution to their issue. You become a contender as a possible means to resolve said conflict. Content at this stage should always be gated because their likeliness to purchase is higher than that of those in the awareness stage.
Compelling resources at this point include:
- Case studies
- Software downloads
- Video series
By the End: Decision Stage
Finally, the prospect is nearly ready to buy in but are debating whether your product and services are right for them. From this point in their journey, content should also always be gated.
These offers are most precisely targeted for decision-phase buyers:
- Free trials
- Free consultation
- Product demos
When to Gate
So, for brand visibility and anything you hope to go viral, you’re better off leaving ungated. If you wait until the middle and towards the end of your marketing funnel, you can acquire brand visibility as well as generate leads downwards into your tunnel.
However, if your material is truly expensive, then you should be gating from the get-go. The decision to gate is mainly dependent on your content and objective.
How to Integrate It onto Your Website
Thoroughly established by now, there is an art to balancing the need for lead generation and user experience. Here are some strategies should you choose to integrate content gating.
Although, before we get into particular examples of content gating, we need to review your objective.
- Step 1: Know What You want – For your information form, it is imperative to request the information that you actually need and can make use of. Users are less inclined to proceed if too much is requested. The less they need to provide the better.
- Step 2: Craft Quality Content – Having good information is essential to incentivizing consumers to share their phone number, email address, and anything else you need. Content has to be valuable enough to make them willing to make the exchange. To accomplish this, make sure that you’re creating content with your audience in mind. It has to be relevant and helpful.
- Step 3: Strategies to Implement – With solid content, you can use any of the strategies delineated below. Pick what applies to your campaign the best.
A gated content landing page will require clean and compelling copy. You will need to outline what you have to offer in the most appealing manner so that users will fill out the opt-in form to access your locked-in content.
Subtler than a gated landing page, content upgrades offer an upgraded version of the page that the prospect is already on. It can be viewed as an option several times throughout the article while remaining relatively unobtrusive to the user’s experience.
A content upgrade is also directly relevant to what they seem to be interested in, increasing the likelihood of improving your conversion rate. It can also be integrated more organically into the article and simultaneously augment its credibility.
Webinars have become increasingly popular gated content, especially as streaming and recording technology has improved and become more accessible. With higher conversion rates, webinars often have a landing page where they get lead information. Viewers see webinars as more expense-worthy because of the different way it delivers information live and also enables direct, real-time interaction with the audience.
Whitepapers and Ebooks
Particularly relevant in B2B marketing, these digital media are extremely common forms of gated content. They’re often the preferred format to explain complex concepts and academic topics. Content gating whitepapers and ebooks has the dual benefit of providing you more authority and upping the value for your consumers.
Get to Gating
With a market saturated with a seemingly infinite amount of information, content alone is hardly sufficient nowadays. It isn’t quite a debate of whether to do it or not so much as figuring out the right way to utilize the strategy. When incorporated thoughtfully, content gating can be essential to a successful inbound marketing plan. From integration and onwards, all you need to do is keep an eye on analytics to monitor your performance and then adjust your strategies accordingly.
Growth will follow after that.
Instapage. What is Gated Content and How to Leverage it for Lead Generation. https://instapage.com/blog/what-is-gated-content
Moz. Content Gating: When, Whether, and How to Put Your Content Behind an Email/Form Capture – Whiteboard Friday. https://moz.com/blog/content-gating-whiteboard-friday
Optinmonster. How to Use Gated Content to Skyrocket Engagement & Conversions. https://optinmonster.com/gated-content-marketing-strategy/
Vengreso. Should Marketers Use Gated Content? The Pros and Cons of Both. https://vengreso.com/blog/should-marketers-use-gated-content-pros-cons
Upland Kapost. 5 Examples of Gated Content Strategies that GenerateLeads. https://kapost.com/b/gated-content-strategies-generate-leads/